Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: General

Life must go on

It is not right to shut down a city or state or country by forcing a bandh or when there is a terrorist attack or someone dies. Such shutdowns are more due to fear of violence than for respect for the dead or any other reason. It is wrong for people to say police should remain indoors and travel if they must.

When schools, shops, and theatres are shut down and autorickshaws and taxis are off the road unexpectedly it is misery for many people. Many do not have foodstock at home and they have to remain hungry. Without autorickshaws and taxis people who have to go to airports, railway stations, bus stations and people who get down there are stuck. People who get married and those who attend weddings are affected. Halls are books months in advance. People who attend funerals are affected. Many come from abroad or distant places to attend weddings or funerals. Perishable commodities are wasted. Without transport patients are unable to reach doctors and many die.

Sometimes policepersons who should uphold the law are in league with law-breakers. They do not protect people from hooligans who forcibly enforce shutdowns. No action is taken against such policepersons for dereliction of duty.

Cremation should be in a crematorium. Public land should not be used for memorials. State funeral should be only for those who held a government post.

Section 66A of Information Technology Act should be repealed as it is misused and two girls were arrested for comments against shutdown. There were no arrests of goons who damaged a clinic.

Innocence of Muslims

Innocence of Muslims is said to be an anti-Islam film. I have not seen the film or the 14 or 15 minutes trailer of the film. The protests against the film gave it publicity. The riot against the film in Bengazi was blamed for the death of four Americans including ambassador Christopher Stevens. Later it became known that the attack on Americans was pre-planned to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11.

Some said the film is bad, rubbish, and garbage. Those who acted in it said they were told it was a film about Egypt 2,000 years back. At first an Israeli Jew in USA was said to be the producer of the film. Some mentioned Terry Jones, a pastor in Florida. Then it was a Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in California. He claimed he was logistics manager. He was arrested for breach of parole conditions.

There were protests in Egypt, Pakistan, Tunisia and many other countries. There are no reports of protests in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and UAE. A French magazine published cartoons on protests. Then a Spanish magazine came up with a cartoon. It showed several Muslims in a police lineup and put the question does anyone know what Mohammed looks like? Editor Mayte Quilez asked “If you can’t depict Mohammed, how do you know it is him in the cartoons?”

Some in USA harked back to the good old days of Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi. Bringing down those regimes has created problems for USA. Some Americans want American help to Syrian rebels to stop.

Violent protests against the film gave it huge publicity. The producer wanted it and he got it.

Pistorius in Paralympics

Paralympics is meant for physically handicapped athletes. Olympics is for normal or able bodied athletes. If an athlete takes part in one he/she should not be allowed in another.

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa had taken part in 2004 and 2008 Paralympics and won gold medal in 200 metres race. In 2012 he wanted to take part in Olympics. IOC officials did not want him in Olympics. Pistorius argued that prosthetics did not offer him advantage over normal athletes and was allowed to take part in Olympics. In one relay event his team did not complete the run because one athlete fell down and did not hand over the baton to Pistorius but the fall was blamed on an athlete of another team and Pistorius’ team was allowed to proceed to the next round.

Having taken part in Olympics, Pistorius should have been barred from Paralympics but was allowed to take part.

On 3/9/2012 Alan Oliveira of Brazil won 200 metres race in 21.45 seconds and gold medal. Pistorius came second in 21.52 seconds. Soon came Pistorius’ outburst.

“Not taking away from Alan’s performance, he’s a great athlete, but these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete stride length.”

“You saw how far he came back. We aren’t racing a fair race. I gave it my best. The IPC have their regulations. The regulations allow that athletes can make themselves unbelievably high. We’ve tried to address the issue with them in the weeks up to this and it’s just been falling on deaf ears.”

“He’s never run a 21 second race and I don’t think he’s a 21 second athlete. I have never lost a 200 metre race in my career.”

One has not lost before does not mean one cannot lose now or in future.

Pistorius’ complaint was that Oliveira wore longer blades. Oliveira did not break any law. IPC issued a statement. “There is a rule in place regarding the length of the blades, which is determined by a formula based on the height and dynamics of the athlete. All athletes were measured today prior to competition by a classifier and all were approved for competition.”

In the race Oliveira had 98 strides, Pistorius 92. Pistorius had longer strides. In the heats, Pistorius had completed the race in 21.30 seconds, a world record, and faster than Oliveira’s time in the final. Pistorius could have used longer blades in Paralympics. If that had made him run faster than in Olympics it would have proved technology makes a difference.

Pistorius later said “I do believe there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the IPC but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong.”

There is an issue here but it is not about length of blades but an athlete taking part in both Olympics and Paralympics.

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